It has come to my attention that an environmental group known as “SafePack Materials Pollute” is clamming that our SafePack materials are not biodegradable. The group is asserting that these materials are causing an environmental hazard that is seeping from a local landfill into a nearby stream. The group has also launched an internet campaign geared toward compelling fruit producers to stop purchasing our packing materials. The situation raises environmental issues that relate directly to the Clean Water Act and the Solid Waste Disposal Act. The overall goal of the Clean Water Act is to eliminate the discharge of pollutants in the navigable waters of the United States (Bagley, p.487). To be in violation of the Clean Water Act, the SafePack Materials Pollute group must have several elements present to prove a valid claim towards our company.
First, the group must be able to prove that our product is truly the cause of the seepage from the landfill into the nearby stream. Other evidence that may be used as proof may include testimony from witnesses, photographs or video tapes. The group must also be able to prove if our company does or does not have a NPDES permit. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into water of the United States (NPDES Overview). The SafePack Materials Pollute also have a claim under the Solid Waste Disposal Act directed towards our company. The Solid Waste Disposal Act governs the management of hazardous wastes (Bagley, p.488). In order for this group to have a valid claim under the Waste Disposal Act towards our company, they must prove that our company is using sound methods for disposal of household, municipal, commercial, and industrial waste (What is the Solid Waste Disposal Act).
Also, according to Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute, a person or company cannot knowingly store, treat, and dispose of any hazardous waste material. The company also cannot falsify records, reports or permits used for compliance in the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S. Code Chapter 82). After reviewing the aforementioned Clean Water Act and the Solid Waste Disposal Act, it is my professional opinion that our company is has not committed any sort of violation for either Act. If our products were truly seeping pollution into local streams and bodies of water, our company would defiantly be violating both the Clean Water Act and Solid Waste Disposal Act, but this simply is not the case. Our company is indeed truly using biodegradable packing material that has been lab tested and proven safe for the environment.
However, it may be wise for our company to look internally at the production of our biodegradable packaging material periodically to ensure quality control and verify that nothing has changed with the materials used to make our product that may cause them not to be as environmentally safe. Because our products are certified “green” products, and with continuous testing of our products, I’m certain we would have no trouble proving the fact that our products truly are biodegradable and are made of the highest environmentally friendly products.
I do believe it would be wise to make a public statement ensuring the public that our products are not causing harm to the environment. I feel we should establish facts regarding the quality of our product and explain how our product is made. We should also be prepared to answer any questions that may arise. To conclude, because we are dealing with an activist group that could potentially cause legal trouble for our company and sour the name of our company, I highly recommend seeking professional outside counsel on this matter. Even though I am confident our company’s product is no way violating the Clean Water Act and Solid Waste Disposal Act, we could still find ourselves facing court time or a legal battle. We may also to defend the reputation of our product. For those reasons, I feel getting a second opinion from an outside counseling agent may be a wise decision.
Bagley, C. (2012). Managers and the Legal Environment: Strategies for the 21st Century, 7th Edition (p. 487). Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning. NPDES Overview. (2015). United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved from: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/ What is the Solid Waste Disposal Act. (2015). United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved from: http://waste.supportportal.com/link/portal/23002/23023/Article/23068/What-is-the-Solid-Waste-Disposal-Act-of-1965 42 U.S. Code Chapter 82. (2015). Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/chapter-82